Before the software demonstration
1. If you are going to use a demo script, take the time to prepare it carefully and create a quality script.
2. Recognise that you will not be able to cover everything in a software demo – so focus on the most important requirements / processes.
3. Where possible, use a weighted demo script, with weighted requirements priorities plus demo scoring. This will allow a more accurate recording of how the software handles each of your requirements. It will force vendors and attendees to follow the script (so as to complete the scoring) and will facilitate a more objective comparison between the different software vendors.
4. Design the demo script to include space for attendees to write notes and to score the demo (ie how well the software meets your requirements).
5. Decide on a scoring scheme, test it out and ensure that all attendees understand how to score the demo – so you get consistent scoring.
6. Allocate a set amount of time for each of the functional system areas / processes you wish to cover in the demo.
7. Get the right people in your demo evaluation team. You need to have a representative from all the different functions you wish to see demonstrated, as well as from IT. Allow all to put forward their ideas and opinions. However, also ensure the team works well together and agrees a consistent approach for all of the software demonstrated.
8. Only schedule and attend software vendor demos AFTER you have gathered, prioritised and agreed your requirements. Don’t put the cart before the horse! If you do, you are likely to head off on all sorts of different directions, become confused and waste a lot of time.
9. Allow the software vendor to prepare for the demo properly. Give them a copy of the demo script well in advance of the scheduled date. If necessary, have pre-demo meetings or phone conversations so they understand what you require.
During the software demonstration
10. Appoint a chairman, to keep the demonstration under control, ensure it sticks to the script, deals with attendee questions either for clarification or later follow up and keeps the demonstration within the allocated times.
After the software demonstration
11. Gather the feedback from each attendee for each demo they attended. Combine, review and analyse the scorings and notes. Undertake further investigations and follow up actions where necessary.
12. Add the demo results to the reviewed and scored RFI / RFP responses – and you should have a good picture as to how well the software meets your needs.
For more software demonstration information visit: Vendor Software Demonstrations / 20 Top Tips for Attending Software Demonstrations / Software Demonstration Checklist / How to Quickly Create a Software Demo Script